Homemade Little Debbie Star Crunch

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Homemade Little Debbie Star CrunchThese treats are very dense, extra chewy, the flavor is caramely and rich, and the milk chocolate coating makes them taste just like a Star Crunch! No-bake, fast, and so authentic!!

Homemade Litttle Debbie Star Crunch averiecooks.com

Better-Than-Little-Debbie Star Crunch 

I’m a Little Debbie freak. There’s not one version or variety that I don’t love.

These copycat Little Debbie Star Crunch are everything I hoped to achieve. The flavor is right on with the buttery caramel, crispy rice cereal, and milk chocolate. 

They’re incredibly dense and chewy. They remind me of my favorite Rice Krispies Treats, which are dense, thick, chewy, and not at all airy or loose.

But the Star Crunch have caramel and Rice Krispies Treats don’t, and I do love caramel.

Homemade Litttle Debbie Star Crunch averiecooks.com

What Is Star Crunch?

If you’ve never had a Star Crunch, you’ve been missing out. Trying to describe Star Crunch for someone who’s never had them is hard.

Their site describes them as, “A chewy cookie topped with caramel and crisp rice then covered in a layer of fudge.” Yes, but that sounds a bit underwhelming.

I would describe them as what you’d get if you made Rice Krispies Treats with caramel rather than marshmallows, and packed it extremely tight so that the density level is off the charts.

In many ways, the flavors remind me of a 100 Grand Bar. Crispy rice, caramel gooeyness, and milk chocolate. I love 100 Grand Bars, too. At least I’m consistent in my preferences!

Homemade Litttle Debbie Star Crunch averiecooks.com

Ingredients for Homemade Star Crunch

For this DIY Star Crunch recipe, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • Kraft caramel bits
  • Unsalted butter
  • Mini marshmallows
  • Rice Krispies cereal
  • Milk chocolate
  • Vegetable shortening

Tip

Store-bought Star Crunch don’t have marshmallows in them, but adding them was the only way I could achieve enough fluff and lightness without making the treats airy or dry. They also add proper density and chewiness.

The finished treats don’t read of marshmallows at all. There’s not enough quantity used and they’re a behind-the-scenes workhorse to help create all the texture qualities I was looking, minus imparting any real flavor.

Homemade Little Debbie Star Crunch without chocolate

How to Make Star Crunch

I am so pleased with how the homemade Star Crunch recipe turned out! They’re remarkably similar to the real thing and no-bake.

I’ll warn you that it’s lots of microwaving in short bursts, stirring, reheating, stirring, repeating, but you can handle that.

  1. Begin by melting one eleven-ounce bag of Kraft Caramel Bits. Heat in short bursts so you don’t scorch the caramels, stirring and mashing them after each burst.
  2. To the soft caramels, add the butter, heat for a minute to melt the butter, and stir to incorporate.
  3. Add mini marshmallows and heat to melt them. As they’re heated, they’ll puff and swell rather than turn into a runny liquid, but finally they’ll become soft enough to smash down into something that’s on the runnier side.
  4. Add the Rice Krispies cereal, and stir to combine.
  5. Spray your hands with cooking spray and reach into the mixing bowl and form 11 equal-sized patties.
  6. Place the discs on a baking tray or large plate and allow them to cool and set up for at least 2 hours, or overnight, before dipping them in chocolate.

Tip

The first three ingredients (butter, caramels, marshmallows) won’t appear to want to melt or combine and you’ll be cursing me — but just trust in the process and do your best to melt and combine ingredients. The recipe WILL work!

Homemade Litttle Debbie Star Crunch averiecooks.com

Recipe FAQs

What Type of caramel is best for this recipe?

I used Kraft caramel bits because I didn’t want to unwrap 11 ounces of caramels one by one — the Bits because they’re a huge time saver!

If your only option is to unwrap a bag of caramels, have fun. 

Do NOT use caramel ice cream sauce, caramel topping, or anything that’s already in liquid form because it’s too thin and runny and won’t give authentic density in the finished bars.

Can Star Crunch be made on the stove?

I don’t know if you could make the Star Crunch on the stove top and prefer the microwave whenever possible. However, if you don’t have a microwave try melting everything on the stove and see how it turns out!

What’s the Best chocolate for star crunch?

Milk chocolate is the way to go for authenticity and I used one bag of milk chocolate chips, 12 ounces.

How do you dip things in chocolate easily?

I strongly recommend adding a tablespoon or two of vegetable shortening (Crisco) when melting the chocolate. It does wonders for helping the chocolate stay smoother and makes dipping much, much easier.

You don’t have to go out and buy shortening for this, and in general, I don’t like shortening. I always swap butter for shortening, even in recipes where it says to use shortening, but for dipping projects shortening is a huge help.

I also recommend not melting all of the chocolate in one go. I heated half in the microwave with shortening, dipped half the discs; then finished the project by heating the remaining half. When working with melted chocolate and dipping projects, working in smaller batches proves easier so the chocolate doesn’t start setting up and getting gloppy and hard to work with.

Dip the discs, one by one, into the chocolate bath. I balance them with two forks, so the excess chocolate can drain off through the fork tines. Let the chocolate drain off well over the bowl before placing the disc on a parchment-lined baking sheet or large tray, otherwise you’ll waste lots of chocolate to the parchment paper.

Why Do you add shortening to melted chocolate?

The beauty of shortening while dipping is that it keeps the chocolate looser and resistant to setting up.

Homemade Litttle Debbie Star Crunch averiecooks.com
No-bake Homemade Little Debbie Star Crunch- caramel and butter are melted and combined with marshmallows to create a gooey sweet sauce for crispy rice cereal, which provides texture and crunch- it's almost better than the real thing!

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5 from 1 vote

Homemade Little Debbie Star Crunch

By Averie Sunshine
These treats are very dense, extra chewy, the flavor is caramely and rich, and the milk chocolate coating makes them taste just like a Star Crunch! No-bake, fast, and so authentic!!
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cooling Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours
Servings: 11
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Ingredients  

  • one 11-ounce bag Kraft Caramel Bits or 11 ounces caramels
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, half of one stick
  • 2 cups mini-marshmallows, half of one standard 10-ounce bag
  • 4 cups Rice Krispies cereal
  • one 12-ounce bag, 2 cups milk chocolate chips, melted for dipping
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable shortening, optional but highly recommended

Instructions 

  • Line a baking sheet with a Silpat liner or parchment paper, set aside.
  • In a large microwave-safe bowl, add the caramel bits and microwave on high power to soften and melt, about 2 minutes, stopping every 30 seconds to check and stir. The caramels don't melt into a smooth, thin sauce like caramel ice cream sauce; instead they're the consistency of natural peanut butter that's a bit loose and oily. As long as they're softened and somewhat melted, that's fine.
  • Add the butter to the caramels, and heat on high power to melt the butter, about 1 minute. Stir the butter and caramel together to combine; the butter will pool and may be difficult to incorporate and it's okay if there's some pooling.
  • Add the marshmallows and heat to melt them, about 2 minutes, stopping every 30 seconds to check and stir to combine. Marshmallows will swell and puff and after about 2 minutes of intermittent heating, they should be sufficiently soft enough to stir into the butter-caramel mixture. Quickly and briefly fold to combine.
  • While the mixture is still nice and hot, add the cereal and stir to combine, mixture will cool down and firm up quickly.
  • Spray your hands with cooking spray or grease them with butter and form 3-inch diameter discs that are about 1-inch tall (I made 11). The batter will be warm but cool enough to handle easily; if yours is too warm, wait until it cools sufficiently to handle it to shape the discs.
  • Place discs on prepared baking sheet sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and allow them to firm up for at least 2 hours, or overnight, before dipping them in chocolate.
  • In a large microwave-safe bowl, add the chocolate and shortening (helps chocolate stay much smoother and for a longer period and highly recommend), and heat on high power to melt, about 1 minute. Heat in 15-second bursts, stopping to check and stir after each, until chocolate can be stirred smooth. Note – I find it easier and more convenient to melt half chocolate and shortening now, and after it's been used, heat the remainder; that way chocolate stays warm, smooth, and easier to work with.
  • Dip discs into chocolate one by one, and let chocolate drain off over the bowl, before returning coated discs to a parchment-lined tray. I find it easiest to balance the discs with two forks, that way the chocolate can drain off through the tines.
  • Allow treats to set up and cool in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes (the shortening will be resistant to setting up at room temperature).

Notes

Caramel bits are already unwrapped and convenient. You may also use regular caramels, probably 30 to 40+ unwrapped. Do NOT use caramel ice cream sauce because it's too thin.
Storage: After chocolate has set, treats can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Nutrition

Serving: 1, Calories: 454kcal, Carbohydrates: 74g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 19g, Saturated Fat: 10g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g, Cholesterol: 15mg, Sodium: 230mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 58g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

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Please note: I have only made the recipe as written, and cannot give advice or predict what will happen if you change something. If you have a question regarding changing, altering, or making substitutions to the recipe, please check out the FAQ page for more info.

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Comments

  1. I was thinking of trying this but with Coco-pebbles, has anyone tried that? It was the first thing I thought of because the chocolate rice used on the star crunch.

  2. I haven’t had Star Crunch since I was a kid. I bought some recently and they were so good. My 4 & 2 year old girls thought they were amazing too. I attempted to recreate them at home and the results were definitely NOT Star Crunch but it was edible and a yummy treat. Haha! Then I found this recipe and gave it a try. They turned out terrific! Oh. My. Goodness! So yummy. I had quite a bit of chocolate left over so I poured it over some Ritz crackers.. Bonus treat! Thanks for all of your trial and error batches so you could share the recipe with us. This is definitely a keeper recipe for me and will be made many more times!

  3. I’ve never attempted to make them myself, but I do enjoy star crunch. However, I do believe that at the center, there should be some sort of molasses-based oatmeal cookie. Perhaps the cookie, then a coating of caramel, followed by puffed rice mixed into melted chocolate.

  4. Update! Ok so I made them exactly and at first they were way hard but I guess they just needed a while longer than I had first assumed of sitting at room temperature because after about a day of sitting in some pyrex containers they were the right texture. And they were amazingly good. So good I have to actively stop myself from making them too often to avoid sugar overload. I guess I just wasn’t patient enough so ignore my first comment! They’re great :D